L'histoire de ma famille

Herbert May Barranger

Birth: Dec 25 1874; MD
Marriage: Feb 5 1896; Divorced abt. 1903
Death: abt. 1938

Census Info


Year: 1900
State: Maryland
County: Baltimore
City/Town: Ward 14
Street: N/A
Additional Residents: Herbert and Annie


Year: 1910
State: Maryland
County: Baltimore
City/Town: Ward 4
Street: N Paca St
Additional Residents: Gertrude

Man of Mystery

I do not have definitive evidence as to who were his biological parents. For whatever reason, I cannot find out a consistent story of how Herbert May Barranger came to be. I've heard that he changed his last name to Barranger, but I cannot confirm that.


Herbert apparently didn't have much luck in the realm of marriage. His first marriage was to Annie Smallwood on Feb 5 1896. Their divorce was quite messy. The divorce was reported in The Sun on Nov 15 1903. Annie said that he "treated her with great cruelty". Supposedly he had threatened to sell his business for a dollar, and leave her and their son without any support if she filed for divorce. I do not know if that threat was made before or after he allegedly “abandoned her and their child”.

A year later the paper reported that he had filed a petition to end the requirement of alimony. This petition alleged that he paid the alimony even though he didn’t have the means to, and ended up losing his stall at the Lexington Market. He accused Annie of orchestrating the loss of his stall because she then started “conducting a meat business there” after she rented the stall. Additionally, he claims that her business is enough to support her and her child. The last two issues he cited were his health, and that Annie was drawing out the suit in order to collect alimony.

The next day the paper reported on Annie’s reply to Herbert’s petition. She denied having a hand in him losing the stall, and asserted that she is using “borrowed capital” to run her business. Annie also denied his claim that he cannot continue paying alimony, and that he is already three months behind.

Second Marriage

On March 8 1909, he married Gertrude Shelton. 6 years later on August 10 1915, The Washington Post reported that they were divorcing. The paper said that Gertrude filed for "Absolute divorce and permanent alimony, alleging misconduct". She also filed a restraining order to prevent him from visiting her.


According to his WWI Draft Registration Card, Herbert was living in D.C. in the year 1918. He was employed by Eureka Life Insurance. I cannot make out what the occupation was–either an accountant or an assistant something.